Hafez (on asking for the moon)

There isn’t enough poetry on this site. In my life. In my notebooks.

In the world.

There I was, though, minding my own business, when a Persian poem of considerable age bounced in front of my eyeballs. You might have heard of the 13th-century poet known in the West as Rumi; a century later, in Shiraz, Iran, came another gifted wordsmith and mystic lover called Hafez. The Persians revere him. Iran has a national day in his honour — imagine, for a poet. What follows, called “With That Moon Language”, is a small piece of why.

Admit something:

Everyone you see, you say to them, “Love me.”

Of course you do not do this out loud;

Otherwise, someone would call the cops.

Still though, think about this,

This great pull in us to connect.

Why not become the one

Who lives with a full moon in each eye

That is always saying

With that sweet moon


What every other eye in this world

Is dying to


Khwāja Shams-ud-Dīn Muhammad Hāfez-e Shīrāzī (1315?-1390 C.E.) lived his entire life in Shiraz, in southern Iran. I found this poem by a happy accident, reading a weblog series called “Riots, Gangbangers and Compassion”. (Yes, I was surprised, too, but then David Langness often does this to me.)

So: if I was your teacher, or leading a workshop, or maybe even just hosting a group of friends devoted to peace and greater understanding, I might say, Now. Read it again, slowly and aloud. But I’m not.

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